You did it! You took the plunge and bought your first firearm; congratulations! Now that you're a new firearm owner, it doesn't stop there. Once that bug bites, you'll be continuously wanting to scratch the itch. But that's actually one of the good things about firearms ownership — there's an almost endless supply of add-ons and accessories available to go with your new purchase.
You'll likely be buying accessories for your gun for years to come. Changing parts, swapping barrels, adding attachments — you'll discover virtually never-ending possibilities for enhancing and personalizing your firearm.
With that in mind, we've compiled a list of a few things to get you started. Some of these work for rifles and shotguns, and some are for handguns. But all of them are a great way to get some basic additions right away. Here are the top five accessories for new gun owners to check out.
1. Extra Magazines
This one is universal. Regardless of whether you have a rifle or handgun, you want to buy more magazines. Most handguns only come with two or three, and rifles sometimes come with as little as one or even none. Whether you're buying some Magpul P Mags for your AR or extra magazines for a Glock, you simply can't go wrong with buying additional magazines.
A good thing about magazines is that you get to play around with them and see what you like. You can buy the factory magazines, like the ones that come with your gun, or opt for different aftermarket types. From polymer to steel and a few variations between, there are plenty of choices for additional magazines. Some work better in different conditions than others and some may simply feel better in your hand or work better in your gun. Find some that work well with your gun and take it from there.
2. Magazine Loader
Speaking of magazines, another excellent accessory is a magazine loader. Sure, you can load your ammunition by hand with no problems, but for more efficiency, you need a magazine loader. A good magazine loader like the UpLULA by MAGLULA can save effort and time in loading and reloading, which means you'll have more time for shooting. Plus, there are options for most common caliber handguns as well as small caliber handguns and even ARs.
Don't think that it's somehow not cool to use a magazine loader. You always want to work smarter, not harder. Magazine loaders help you do just that. They improve the efficiency of loading your magazine, and who wouldn't want that?
Iron sights — the ones that come standard on your gun — are great. However, to really up your game and help improve your ability with everything from target acquisition to accuracy and eye fatigue, you'll want to get some form of optic.
The most common and popular optics are red dot sights. These aren't the same as a scope for a hunting rifle; they're simply a glass with a dot that you use to aim. They rarely have magnification, and when they do, it's minor. But they can help increase your shooting precision, accuracy, and speed.
Popular models such as the Sig Sauer Romeo 3 can be used on handguns as well as rifles, and models like the Sig Sauer Romeo 7 can be used as a dedicated rifle sight. No matter what type you choose, an optic is a great addition to your firearm.
4. Weapon Lights
No, we're not talking about blinging out or decorating your gun; these aren't like Christmas lights. A dedicated weapon light is almost a must have. If you've been around gun enthusiasts long enough, you've probably heard it said that if you're ever forced to use your gun to defend yourself, it'll likely happen at night. Defensive firearm usage statistics show this to be generally true, especially in a home defense situation. So, it's a good idea to have a quality dedicated weapon light mounted on your gun.
A good weapon light like the Inforce WMLx or Streamlight TLR-6 can literally be a lifesaver. Being able to illuminate your potential target in the dark can ensure you hit what you're trying to shoot. Even more importantly, it helps you know that you do, indeed, want to shoot. Whether your night hunting or defending your home, lighting your target lets you make a fast, educated decision about whether or not this is what your bullet was meant for.
Plus, having it mounted to the gun itself frees up your other hand for a better two-handed grip on the gun, calling the police, checking door locks, flipping light switches, and other important activities.
5. Range Bags
If you plan to shoot your gun a lot, you need a range bag. A range bag is a dedicated bag to keep everything you need for the range together and neatly organized. Sure, you could use an old duffel bag or backpack. It might even serve you ok, but it will never compare to an actual range bag.
For starters, range bags are designed with gun needs in mind. They are more durable than standard backpacks and have compartments specifically designed for equipment such as magazines, gun lube, cleaning sprays, and oils. Some also include built-in cleaning mats.
The best part is that they are variable in size and shape to best suit your needs. There are dedicated pistol range bags, rifle cases that double as range bags, and backpack style range bags that could double as survival bags. Once you get one that suits your usage, you'll wonder how you ever did any shooting without one.
Honorable Mentions: More Gun Accessories to Add to Your List
While this list is far from comprehensive, it was intended to be a starting point. Because of that, there were a couple other things that didn't fit on the list but are still worth mentioning. The first of these are triggers.
Triggers are a great enhancement to your gun. Whether you're planning on being a competitive shooter or just don't like the way your current trigger feels, installing an enhanced trigger is an excellent upgrade
The second is something that should be either in or near your range bag whenever you plan to go shooting: medical gear. People often overlook that the nature of shooting is such that if an accident happens, it could be extremely serious. Because of this, it's a good idea to have at least a tourniquet or an individual first aid kit (IFAK) in your bag. Preferably both. In all likelihood, if you're following good gun safety, you'll never have to use either. But, just like with carrying your gun, it's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
Regardless of what you choose to use to personalize your guns, the fun part is trying it all out. Finding out what you like and what works best for your gun is one of the most enjoyable parts of gun ownership. Play around and try some accessories, but most of all, enjoy it.